How can diabetes be prevented in dogs

Diabetes in dogs - all important information about metabolic disease

Diabetes in dogs, called canine diabetes mellitus in technical terms, is one of the most common metabolic disorders in our four-legged friends. We will tell you how to recognize the disease and what treatment options are available.

Detecting diabetes in dogs early enough: These symptoms should be observed

Your dog, always happy and bustling, suddenly shows strange behavior. For a few days he has been looking exhausted, listless and doesn't want to activate himself at all. Well, you think, such phases are not unusual for most living beings, you yourself are not always in the best mood.

But what you notice after a short time: The fur nose drinks a lot and can often be found on the water bowl. Accordingly, you have to take a short walk for a while to make things easier. Is it the weather?

The dog also eats a lot and always begs for more food. And yet he remains slim. No, he is somehow getting thinner and his fur is so strangely dull ...

If this sounds familiar to you, you should hurry to the vet with your four-legged friend.

In dogs, diabetes mellitus is always associated with very specific, but unambiguous symptoms. If you recognize this early enough and take your four-legged friend to the vet, the disease can usually be contained well. In this way, serious long-term consequences are avoided.

Please note that our blog does not replace the veterinarian. If in doubt, always consult a veterinarian!

The following symptoms indicate canine diabetes:

  • enormous thirst and correspondingly much fluid intake
  • very frequent and excessive urination (urination)
  • severe hunger and correspondingly frequent eating of large amounts of food
  • Weight loss despite increased food intake
  • Visual disturbances up to blindness (e.g. cataracts)

How does diabetes develop in dogs and what are the consequences of the disease?

A basic distinction is made between two forms of diabetes in dogs: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In most cases, diabetes does not develop in dogs until they are middle-aged. (Smaller) races such as B. Poodles, Labrador Retrievers or Dachshunds are more susceptible.

Type 1 diabetes in dogs - insulin deficiency

Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of the disease in dogs. In dogs, the disease is usually hereditary, but it can also occur as a result of obesity, infectious diseases or general hormonal disorders.

The pancreas, also known as the pancreas in specialist circles, produces either too little or no insulin at all.

Insulin is a hormone and normally ensures that the body cells absorb the sugar in the blood, the glucose, and use it accordingly.

The result is an increasing concentration of sugar in the blood. If the amount exceeds a limit, the body uses the kidneys to ensure that the sugar is excreted in the urine. However, a lot of water is withdrawn from the body during this process. This explains the enormous thirst and the frequent urination.

But that is not the only consequence of the disease. Because the body cells can no longer get the glucose they urgently need from food, they lack their “fuel”. So they tell the brain to please eat some food. And already more and more is being eaten, which, however, cannot be used by the body.

This in turn leads to the body cells looking for another source of energy. The liver now pours out its sugar reserves. If these are exhausted, muscles and fat in the body are broken down. Now the dog begins to lose weight and become weaker.

The four-legged friend now tires very quickly, has no drive and is limp. The fur also loses its shine, it becomes dull and shaggy. Sometimes the dog may vomit or become depressed.

Now, at the latest, every dog ​​lover should worry. Unfortunately, the lens of the eye is often cloudy as a long-term consequence, which often leads to blindness. The lack of fuel for the body's cells leaves its mark, especially in the eyes.

If the disease is left untreated for a long time, further processes lead to acidification of the body, which in turn leads to even stronger urination. Sooner or later this vicious circle leads to a sugar coma and then to the death of the animal.

Type 2 diabetes in dogs - insulin resistance

This type of diabetes is rather uncommon and rare in dogs. Here the pancreas functions normally, but the body cells do not “recognize” any glucose despite the insulin and so cannot function properly. The consequences are strong thirst and hunger, a lot of urination and malaise.

How to treat diabetes in dogs

After the veterinarian has diagnosed the dog with diabetes using urine and blood samples, therapy begins. The vet will clarify with you on site what this looks like in each individual case. However, there are a few points that you can be sure to prepare for.

Please note that a diabetic dog will require many visits to the doctor. If you know your dog has a history of diabetes in their pedigree, you should consider getting canine health insurance.

The diet needs to be changed

The change in diet is now one of the most important therapeutic measures. Low-carbohydrate and low-fat food is now the be-all and end-all for dogs. Vitamins, minerals and proteins should now constitute the vast majority of dog food. Talk to the vet, they can tell you exactly which diet food is suitable for your particular case.

The dog is too fat? Please reduce the weight

Should the fur nose bring too many pounds on the scales, it will have to slim down for better or for worse. Obesity makes diabetes more likely or worse in dogs, just as it does in humans.

Getting enough exercise is also especially important. But don't chase your furry friend around like a marathon runner! The activities should be adapted to the dog and its fitness.

Give insulin

Now comes something that many dog ​​owners may not be quite as comfortable with. The administration of insulin. This is done with the help of injections - in syringes with needles. The vet will practice the administration with you, it may sound worse than it actually is.

Don't worry, you can do that at home later, you don't have to visit the doctor every time.

First you have to measure the blood sugar level of your furry friend. The vet will give you all the items you need or tell you where to get them. Now you prick your dog's skin with the help of a special needle and remove the blood drop with a test strip.

Based on the values ​​that are now communicated to you by the measuring device, you can draw the required amount of insulin into the syringe. As a rule, the syringe with the injection needle is pricked into a certain point on the back or the right or left chest wall of the dog.

Shortly before the neck, the skin can usually be pulled a bit very easily. Injections are then made into this fold of the skin. And that was it and it didn't really hurt at all.

After you've done this a few times, you will notice that your furry friend actually joins it with disinterestedness at some point. Last but not least, this may also be due to the fact that the dog feels a noticeable improvement in its well-being after receiving the prick.

Of course, praise and distraction are welcome during the administration and make everything more bearable for the fur nose.

If the dosage of the insulin is set correctly (the vet monitors the values, of course), the four-legged friend should be able to lead a good and comfortable life.

What do I do if the dog shows symptoms of hypoglycaemia?

If an insulin dose is overdosed or accidentally given twice, the dog may develop hypoglycaemia. Seizures, unsteady gait, and general weakness are symptoms of hypoglycaemia. You should act quickly now and give your dog something to eat right away.

If the dog is already unconscious, you can rub honey, sugar water or glucose onto the lining of the mouth and the inside of the cheeks. The sugar is then absorbed by the mucous membrane. Be sure to inform the vet afterwards!

I forgot to inject the dog with insulin, now what?

Have you forgotten an injection or are you not sure whether the last injection worked correctly? What you should definitely not do now is make up for the injection or supplement it.

The correct behavior in this situation is that you simply inject the normal dose the next time you plan to administer insulin. But please make sure to discuss such a situation with your vet!

Can diabetes be prevented in dogs?

Unfortunately, there is no proper prevention, as the disease is almost always genetic. But as a dog owner, there are a few things you can do to at least delay the risk of the dog getting the disease as much as possible.

Avoid being overweight in dogs. If the dog is too fat for too long, it can encourage the onset of diabetes. If, on the other hand, the dog is fed a healthy diet right from the start, i.e. does not consume too much fat or carbohydrates, overweight should already be difficult to feed on.

In addition, there is sufficient daily exercise. During one of the daily rounds of the walk, Bello should run a lap or dash after a toy. Maybe you are also into sports yourself? Then just take the dog with you on a jog.

Dog diabetes is not the end of it

Diabetes is a dire disease, there is no doubt about it. However, with the right medication and the right lifestyle, the dog can tolerate the disease well. So when you hear this diagnosis from your veterinarian, don't despair. Many dogs with diabetes can still live long and good lives.


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